Students studying the Aztecs know that these were people of a certain ethnic group that lived in central Mexico during the 1300s to the 1500s. Archaeological finds show us the beauty of the culture and art of the Aztec people. The finds also highlight the detailed Aztec calendar. Teachers and students in classrooms can celebrate this culture by making crafts depicting the artwork and by re-creating the Aztec calendar.

Make Aztec Pottery Replicas

Make crafts based on Aztec design when studying the culture.
Make crafts based on Aztec design when studying the culture.

When learning about Mexican (Aztec) pottery and art, have the students make a craft where they design their own version of Aztec art. Look at some Aztec art in books and online. Notice the geometric patterns in the art. Notice some of the trends in Aztec arts and pottery like the use of the sun and symbols from the Aztec calendar. Ask your students to draw some rough designs on a piece of scrap paper for their own art. Remind them that the image should be somewhat simple so that they can paint it later. Using yellow or light brown paint, paint a paper plate, and let it dry. Paint the design on the plate using black or brown paint.

Frame Some Aztec Art

Frame a detailed piece of Aztec art.
Frame a detailed piece of Aztec art.

Use free downloadable coloring pages to make a fun craft that celebrates Aztec art. Have the students print out their favorite design, and then color it carefully. As they color, discuss the different shapes and lines that the Aztecs used in their art. You can also discuss symbolism in the drawings. Once the children finish coloring, have them cut the picture out, and place it on cardboard or colored paper to make a frame. Show the different styles of art by putting the finished crafts onto a bulletin board in your classroom.

Make an Aztec Calendar

Make your own Aztec calendar as an Aztec craft.
Make your own Aztec calendar as an Aztec craft.

Older students might enjoy making their own Aztec calendar. They could choose between now 260-day-tonalpohualli calendar or the 365-day-xiuhpohualli calendar, which delineates agricultural cycles and seasons. If time is limited, students might want to make part of the calendar, showing a shorter period. Students might want to do this project on a computer, making their own monthly templates. They should label each day according to the Aztec calendar.